Pamela Geller, Guide Dogs, and Genocide
by Sheila Musaji
Pamela Geller posted a letter she received from an Atlas Shrugs reader calling himself Scott Sylte. She introduces this letter saying Remember, there is no golden rule under Islam.
Here is the text of the posted letter
I have a disability which requires that I use a service dog. His name is Ray and he helps to counterbalance, alert and guide me. Under Federal Law, The Americans with Disabilites Act of 1990, a disabled person with their service dog must be allowed public accomodation and admittance. Among such places include Airplanes, Public Transportation, Businesses which serve the gerneral public, restaurants, etc.
One evening two friends, myself and my service dog Ray entered a kabob restaurant in Virginia. Within seconds a man, apparantly who was the owner, made a scene about my service dog and asked me to leave. I was fairly certain he was Pakistani Muslim. There were other people in the restaurant who apparantly were also Muslim because of their coverings. Anyhow, I told him about the ADA, which he knew nothing about, and I told him that I was refusing to leave the restaurant and demanded that we be served the food we ordered. He was obviously very, very unhappy about it, yet he did eventually very reluctantly comply.
If he had insisted that my dog and I leave and refused to serve us in his restaurant, I would have filed a Human Relations Complaint of Discrimination or a ADA complaint with the US Dept. of Justice. If that would ever happens I wonder if this Islamization has gone that far that it would limit me from entering a Muslim owned or opperated establishment which serves the public? It’s sad to see our society begin sliding down the slippery slope of making these kinds of self serving accomodations. The people who are in favor of these kinds of accomodations as being in the friendly spirit of Freedom and Liberty are missing the point that our strong tendancies for “cultural” and “religious” acceptance are really being used to undermine our very freedoms and liberties in a very clandestine manner.
The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherants about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.
Respectfully submitted, Scott Sylte
This individual is claiming that someone at a kabob restaurant in Virginia that he believed to be a Muslim asked him to leave the restaurant with his guide dog. After he explained about the ADA, the man reluctantly served him. He does not say what his disability is, or what kind of a service dog. Since he is describing the appearance of people in the restaurant, it seems that he is not blind, and perhaps his disability was not readily apparent. The law does not require service dogs to wear identifying markings, and if this was the case it is possible that the restaurant employee/owner simply thought it was a man and his dog coming in to eat.
He says that if he had not been served he would have filed an official complaint of discrimination. That is absolutely appropriate, and he would have been well within his rights to do so – if this is an accurate recounting of a genuine incident. If, however, there was no way for the man who worked in the restaurant to know that he was disabled, and that his dog was a service dog, then that would be a very different story.
However, the last paragraph of Mr. Sylte’s letter makes me doubt everything he claims. I’ll repeat that paragraph
The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherants [sic] about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.
I would have highlighted the genocidal take on what is required of Christians out of their love for their Muslim neighbors, but the entire paragraph would need to be highlighted.
He is saying that he would like to believe that most Muslims are not out to kill “us”, but since their religion (in his view) teaches Muslims to lie about their murderous intentions, then the command to kill Muslims before they kill you mandated in Christianity “should be closely examined”. We should consider that it might be a “Christian mandate” to begin killing Muslims. He does not give any references to particular verses of Christian “sacred scriptures”, but I am certain that whatever passages he believes would justify such genocide are being misinterpreted by him.
That Pamela Geller thinks such hatred is deserving of a positive mention, and of being published on her site is yet more evidence as to why the SPLC lists not only her Atlas Shrugs site, but her partner Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch site, and their joint organizations AFDI and SIOA as active anti-Muslim groups, and why they are listed in our Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. This is hatred pure and simple. Geller thinks that she is able to recognize what she describes as “genocidal ideologies”, and describes others as “savages”. This posting seems to be an example of both a genocidal and savage ideology espoused by Geller herself.
As to the issue that set off this tirade – Muslims who serve the public refusing service to people with guide dogs – that has happened. There needs to be a clear statement issued by scholars in the U.S. and Canada clarifying this, and that statement needs to be widely distributed and discussed in mosques. The problem is that many immigrants confuse cultural and religious beliefs, and some are not aware of the law.
This process has begun, and Muslim scholars are attempting to educate people, but to avoid any such difficulties in the future, this needs to be much more widely discussed. Here are a few examples of community efforts to educate:
In 2008, the issue of service dogs came up in England and a fatwa
“The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association described the decision as “a massive step forward for other blind and partially-sighted Muslims”. Previously, all dogs were banned from mosques because the Islamic faith historically sees them as being for guarding and hunting only. However, the position was softened because guide dogs could be classed in the “working dogs” category. The animals are still barred from entering the prayer hall for the sake of hygiene but are allowed to guide their owners to the area where shoes are placed, the fatwa says.
A special rest area has been set up in the entrance of the Bilal Jamia mosque for Vargo while Khatri is praying. Previously, the teenager, who attends the RNIB College in Loughborough, had to be accompanied to the mosque by a sighted helper. “
… After issuing the fatwa, Muhammad Shahid Raza, director of the Imams and Mosques Council UK and secretary of the Muslim Law (Sharia) Council UK, said: “I hope that all existing mosques will follow Bilal mosque in serving the disabled people in a similar way by providing facilities to them. I also believe that, in all new mosques, such facilities for disabled people will be an essential part of their design.”
You can see a video about this here
In a case in Minnesota, the local CAIR-MN chapter issued a statement
The moral and legal need to accommodate individuals using service dogs far outweighs the discomfort an individual Muslim might feel about coming into contact with a dog, which is one of God’s creatures, said CAIR-MN Communications Director Valerie Shirley.
Muslims believe the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual ablution performed before prayer. For this reason, it has become a cultural norm for individuals not to have dogs in their houses – not because the dog is unclean.
The Prophet Muhammad allowed the use of dogs for protection and for hunting. He related several traditions (hadith) in which individuals were rewarded by God for protecting animals and punished for mistreating them.
Shirley mentioned that in 2007, a similar misunderstanding took place between Minneapolis cab drivers and passengers with guide dogs. After CAIR-MN facilitated dialogue between the two groups and cleared the misunderstanding, the Muslim taxi drivers offered free rides to attendees of the American Council of the Blind Convention in downtown Minneapolis. Abdinoor Ahmed Dolal, owner of Twin Cities Airport Taxi, said “Islam forbids us to turn away a blind passenger, whether they have a guide dog or not. Their rights come first.”
CAIR-MN says it will continue to work with the Muslim community in Minnesota to educate them about their Islamic and legal duty to accommodate those using service or guide dogs.
In another case in Vancouver, Canada a local Imam issued a clarification
An Iman from the local Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre, Javed Jaffri, researched the dog topic and served as an expert witness for a blind man refused passage by a Muslim taxi driver. Jaffri spent long hours on this, and provided an unbiased interpretation of the Koran that indicated “there is nothing saying that one must refuse service to another person because of the fear of contamination by a dog.”
He also said that “there can be exceptions to blanket refusals to deal with dogs, especially if it means helping someone in need. All that would be required in most circumstances would be for a Muslim person to wash their hands before eating if they have been in contact with a dog. That’s not a terrible task to go through,” he said.
“There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you. Qur’an 6:38.
“The Holy Prophet told of a prostitute who, on a hot summer day, saw a thirsty dog hovering around a well, lolling its tongue. She lowered her socks down the well and watered the dog. God forgave her all her sins (for this one act of kindness)” Sahih Muslim
A Fatwa on dogs, Khaled Abou El Fadl http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/tloofesfaond.html
All-American Muslim and Wrigley the Dog, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/wrigley-dogs
Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity, Ikhwan al-Safahttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/books_the_animals_lawsuit_against_humanity
Animals in Islam, al-Hafiz B.A. Masri, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/an1.htm
Dogs in the Islamic tradition and in nature, Khaled Abou El Fadlhttp://www.scholarofthehouse.org/dinistrandna.html
Islam and Experiments on Animals *, al-Hafiz B.Z. Masrihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_experiments_on_animals1
Misconceptions About Islam and Dogshttp://misconceptions-about-islam.com/dogs-allowed-muslims.htm
Quotes from Qur’an and Hadith about dogs as service animalshttp://toledomuslims.com/criterion/Article.asp?ID=288
What’s up with Muslims and dogs?, Dr. Ingrid Mattson http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-mattson/whats-up-with-muslims-and_b_1144819.html